Dishwasher leaving residue

weedyacresJuly 30, 2010

X-post with appliances & cleaning, since I don't know where the experts hang out.

I'll start with the problem:

Our dishwasher is leaving a white film on everything, and occasionally a couple pieces look completely unwashed (still have food on/in them). This film does not scrub off easily.

The backstory: Our dishwasher is about 2 1/2 years old (new with kitchen remodel) and always worked fine. A year or so ago we used some inexpensive detergent from Aldi that left a white film, so after a few uses we discontinued it and went back to Cascade. Turns out the Aldi stuff is phosphate-free. The Cascade didn't get the film off the dishes, but it did get them clean.

Fast forward to a few months ago. Things weren't getting clean like they should, and more white stuff. Examination of the dishwasher led us to scrape scale off/out of where the water pipes into the dishwasher and also the holes in the blades that spin around. Minor improvements, but we're still getting white stuff and things not getting clean. We've run it on the hottest water/pan scrubber cycle and that hasn't helped.

Any ideas as to where else we can turn?

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Clean it using vinegar, lemon juice or anything containing citric/acethic acid and harmless.That might help.

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 8:40AM
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Does the DW have a grinder/macerator/garbage disposal built in?

If paper gets into the little disposers it can clog them up and they cannot clear the paper (to much clearance between the macerator and chamber bottom.).

    Bookmark   July 30, 2010 at 6:39PM
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Check your Cascade. Is it the "new design" box and/or bottle? If it is, it's now phosphate free as well. As of July 1st, many states banned phosphates in dishwasher detergent and afaik, Cascade is now phosphate free no matter what state you buy it in.

After suffering through a whole bottle of the new Cascade Complete, I managed to find a single box of the old Cascade with dawn (and phosphates) which, while I found it sub-par in comparison with the old Cascade Complete, is far better than the new phosphate free stuff that is leaving a white film on everything.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 3:01PM
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Forgot to add, I've been having good luck removing the white film with a little bit of Bar Keepers Friend. It works on everything but plastic, and I'm not sure that it will be possible to remove the film from it.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2010 at 3:04PM
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I use white vinegar too once every 3 or 4 months. Just pour into the bottom of the machine and run it. Works well.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2010 at 6:00PM
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With a pH of 3 it is most likely not much more than citric acid.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2011 at 11:46AM
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A am afraid that reformulation of detergents to get the phosphate out has been less than a booming success. You might want to check Consumer Reports. They tested detergents recently and include fogging of glass and changes in aluminum in the characteristics. They have commentary on the low-phosphate detergent. My problem is that we should be able to titer the detergent amount to the water hardness, but all the best detergents are in tablets or packs that can not be divided in any practical way.

    Bookmark   October 27, 2011 at 1:35PM
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